Marketing Analytics: Putting More Than a Face on Your Donors
I used to love playing with Mr. Potato Head. With every new nose, lips or eyes, hair and ears, hands or feet, I seemingly created a new character—each one a bit different than the others. But behind all those interchangeable features, he was still just a potato.
In some strange way I feel that a lot of direct response fundraisers have a similar view of the individuals who make contributions to their organizations. Direct response fundraisers, by and large, are still creating personas for donors based on basic elements of their giving (amount of their gift, number of gifts, and the date of the last gift), and when there is a change to one of those elements, they put a new face on the individual—but beneath it all, it’s still just a donor.
But unlike Mr. Potato Head, who will sadly always be a potato (not saying anything is wrong with that), people who support charitable organizations have the potential to become far more than just a donor. Thanks to the evolution of digital philanthropy and the rise of marketing intelligence and advanced analytics in fundraising, far greater insights into consumer giving behavior, interests, attitudes and preferences can be harvested. Fundraisers can now become more acquainted with the diverse characteristics of individuals who support their organizations, rather than simply lumping them into the category of “donors.”
Escalating fundraising costs, eroding performance metrics, increasing competition—for external market share and/or for internal investment dollars—and changing behaviors of donors are forcing organizations to change business strategies. Chief development officers, who are managing diverse portfolios of giving programs, are challenged to not only tune each program individually, but to deliver a more effective solution to optimize budgets and deploy depleting resources across the entire program portfolio to meet revenue growth goals.